Why Use a Doula

Pregnant woman exercising.

The word “doula” comes from the Greek word referring to a woman’s servant. Modern doulas aren’t exactly servants. However they are dedicated to serving a mother’s needs before, during and after childbirth. Mothers who work with a doula during and after their pregnancies often feel more relaxed, empowered and satisfied with their experience. This is particularly true during the delivery. Learn more about what a doula can do for you, so you can decide whether this might be a good option to pursue for your pregnancy.

What Is A Doula?

  • Doulas are professionals who assist with pregnancy, childbirth and infant care. They don’t replace doctors or nurses. However, they are typically a good source of information for pregnant mothers and new parents.
  • The doula is not involved with the activities of the midwife or medical team. during labor and delivery. Some doulas may have medical training, but they must have separate credentials to get involved with any advanced healthcare assistance.
  • Doulas do not require formal education or licensure in most cases.. Some states require doula registration, but that’s not the same as a credential. There are multiple independent certification organizations.However, this is a voluntary process that can be completed with varying degrees of rigor and formal requirements. Be sure to research different candidates if you’re concerned about finding a qualified professional. Look carefully at each potential doula’s background and training.
  • Doulas provide a paid service, and because the profession lacks a formal standardized training and licensure process, insurance companies may not cover their services.
  • Mothers who are particularly anxious about pregnancy or labor often benefit from having a doula by their side. The doulas are a dedicated resource for emotional support and information.

What Does A Doula Do?

  • Doulas are often referred to as birthing companions. They are a one-person coaching and cheerleading team. They support the pregnant mother and, usually to a lesser extent, her partner.
  • Most doulas are labor doulas.They attend to the mother during labor and delivery.
  • Labor doulas typically meet with the expectant mother several weeks or months prior to the due date. The doula will get to know her client in these pre-delivery meetings.  She will answer questions, provide reassurance and assist with the development of a birth plan.
  • Doulas are helpful assistants to mothers as they learn breathing and relaxation techniques. Doulas provide coaching for the mother’s partner as well. This is particularly helpful as he or she may have anxieties or hesitations as well.
  • During the labor and delivery process, the doula may hold the mother’s hand. She will provide her with encouragement and reassurance. She will speak up for the mother’s needs. The Doula will act as a familiar face during a potentially stressful time. Doulas can also provide pain-relief services such as massage. Your doula can also make sure your medical wishes are respected, allowing you to focus on the big job at hand.
  • Not all doulas are labor doulas. Specialist doulas focus on other aspects of pregnancy. Using a specialist doula allows you to find a professional who provides exactly the service you need. Antepartum doulas provide emotional and physical support to pregnant mothers experiencing high-risk pregnancies. Postpartum doulas provide information and support after delivery for nursing mothers.  They can also perform some personal-life assistance as well. They help out around the house and perform other tasks.

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